Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Article on NE 107 Diagnostics at

We recently had an article published in PlantServices about the value of the NAMUR NE 107 diagnostic recommendations and how we embedded these into the FOUNDATION fieldbus specification.  For those of you not familiar with NAMUR, they are an end user driven organization in  that focuses entirely on process automation.  One of the things NAMUR does is to write recommendations documents for various areas of process automation.  NAMUR NE 107 covers recommendations for presenting diagnostic data from intelligent field devices so they can be viewed by operators in technicians in context.  In other words, the diagnostic information is relevant and easy understand.  The operator or technician sees only the data they need to see when they need to see it, and that data is easily understandable.  We at the Foundation have built these NE 107 recommendations into our specification.  With the latest version of our interoperability test kit and host profile registration process, we also make sure that all new devices and hosts that we test conform to the new specification.  You can read the full article here.

Embedding the NAMUR NE 107 diagnostic specifications is one advantage of having a truly open standard like FOUNDATION fieldbus.  It allows us to adopt new technologies as they come along, just as we did with Ethernet and HSE.  We are also doing the same with FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management (ROM), integrating WirelessHART and ISA 100.11a protocols into the FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fieldbus Foundation End User Seminar Comes To Plock, Poland

The Fieldbus Foundation Central and Eastern European Marketing Committee (FFCEEMC) is pleased with the success of its end user seminar and live demonstration of FOUNDATION technology held on Wednesday 9 November, 2011, at Hotel Tumski, Plock, Poland.

Members of the FFCEEMC welcomed delegates from some of the major end users and system integrators in the CEE region including refineries, petrochemical plants, crude oil distribution/storage, pharmaceutical manufacturers, biofuel processors, chemical companies, engineering contractors and EPCs.

With its theme ‘FOUNDATION Fieldbus Live’, the agenda for the day included a comprehensive program of presentations in Polish language with a specific insight into FOUNDATION fieldbus life-cycle economics. Of particular interest to attendees were the practical, live, hands-on demonstrations of the building, maintenance and modification of working FOUNDATION segments using host systems from Honeywell and Emerson Process Management together with field devices and components from several Fieldbus Foundation equipment suppliers.

In addition to the presentation program and demonstration, attendees had several opportunities to discuss applications and suitable FOUNDATION solutions with representatives from the FFCEEMC member companies at a table top display during the breaks and after the close of the proceedings. Complimentary refreshments, lunch and seminar materials were provided.

Juergen George - FFCEEMC chairman commented, “The Fieldbus Foundation’s CEE marketing committee has participated in key Polish process and automation exhibitions and conferences during the last couple of years and we were pleased to return with a dedicated end user seminar and technology demonstration.” He continued, “FOUNDATION technology had already been installed in at least 9 major petrochemical plants in the region and we are experiencing a high level of interest from other potential users. We have already scheduled a multi-venue tour to Krakow, Katowice and Gliwice in the south of the country later next year to address our established customers and to meet potential implementers of FOUNDATION technology.”

Audience at Seminar in Plock, Poland 
The FFCEEMC is committed to promoting FOUNDATION technology to end users and EPCs through end user focused training seminars and is actively supporting users and prospective users in the local languages of the region. A network of “partners” is being established to ensure that support is available to all users or potential users – whether it’s a need for basic training, the sharing of installation experiences, project definition, commissioning or maintenance.

The FFCEEMC includes representatives from major suppliers of control systems and instrumentation including Emerson Process Management, Honeywell, MTL/Polyco, Pepperl+Fuchs, R.Stahl/ASE, Turck and Yokogawa.  For more information about the function and activities of the FFCEEMC, please visit the Central & Eastern Europe section of the Fieldbus Foundation website or email:

Report: Workshop & Demonstration at DCS 17, Hungary, Oct 24-26

The Fieldbus Foundation Central and Eastern European Marketing Committee (FFCEEMC) once again participated in the conference program during the 17th Distributed Control Systems symposium (DCS17) on 24-26 October 2011 at Hotel Palota, Miskolc-Lillafüred, Hungary. Over 275 delegates from Hungary and the CEE region attended the three day conference organised by the Research Institute if Applied Earth Sciences, University of Miskolc.

The conference program kicked off with a morning plenary session for all, followed a workshop dedicated to FOUNDATION fieldbus technology. Presentations were given by representatives of FFCEEMC member companies addressing three FOUNDATION fieldbus topics including ‘The Economies of FOUNDATION Fieldbus’ by Szilárd Szelmann (Yokogawa Hungary Ltd.); ‘FOUNDATION Fieldbus DART and Functional Safety’ by György Baradits (Controlorg Ltd.); and ‘Explosion Protection for FOUNDATION Fieldbus H1 – an Update on the Latest Solutions Including High Power Trunk, Ex ic and DART’ by Árpád Veress (Stahl Hungary Ltd.).

Following the success of the live FOUNDATION technology demonstration sessions at last year’s DCS16 conference, the FFCEEMC team again ran a live demonstration session using the newly commissioned demonstration units featuring three FOUNDATION host systems with fieldbus devices from different suppliers to demonstrate aspects of the technology and interoperability.

FOUNDATION Fieldbus Demo Units at DCS 17, Hungary

Other sessions during the three day DCS17 event included various keynote speeches; presentations on smart field instrumentation; DCS plans, DCS applications and DCS and connecting systems; and the International Scientific workshop. Speakers included several end users and industry experts - including representatives from several of the Fieldbus Foundation’s member companies.

In addition to the speaker program, attendees were also able to visit an exhibition featuring displays from 13 exhibitors during the breaks and evening drinks receptions.

Juergen George, chairman - FFCEEMC commented, “Once again, I’m delighted that the DCS conference program included a half day dedicated to the implementation of FOUNDATION technology. As before, our live demonstration sessions were well attended and clearly indicate the level of interest by engineers to get into the heart of FOUNDATION technology and gain first hand experience of its functional benefits.” He continued, “With a significant increase in project activities in the CEE region, and a corresponding increase in FOUNDATION technology experience, we are looking forward to an even busier seminar and roadshow schedule for 2012!”

The University of Miskolc has reached a significant milestone in its application to become an accredited training site that offers fieldbus training courses certified under the FOUNDATION Certified Training Program (FCTP). A license agreement has been signed that recognises the site as a certified training centre that is undergoing the rigorous process of auditing its educational curriculum and instructors in order to achieve full certified training centre status. Once successful in the complete accreditation process, the University of Miskolc will become the preferred site for Fieldbus Foundation training in the Central & Eastern European region.

Link to CEE About Us page

Report: Fieldbus Foundation Seminars in Australia

The Fieldbus Foundation conducted an end-user seminar in Brisbane on the 2 November followed by Perth on the 4 November as part of "the future is digital" road show around the Asia Pacific. Participating manufacturers include ABB, Azbil (Yamatake), Dresser, Emerson Process Management, Honeywell, Leoni, MooreHawke, MTL, Pepperl+Fuchs, Rockwell Automation, Samson, Softing, Stahl, Turck, and Yokogawa.  Here is a report on the seminars written by Jonas Berge, longtime fieldus expert at Emerson Process Management in Singapore. 

"The keynote address noted how everything around us is benefiting greatly from a transformation from analog to digital such as television, telephony, and music. The latest developments in fieldbus deliver on the promise of digital networking. Fieldbus since years ago reduces wiring and the number of I/O cards. Now, with fieldbus power integrated into the interface card, the marshalling panel can also be eliminated, further reducing system footprint. It is well known that fieldbus takes the place of 4-20 mA, but fieldbus also takes the place of on/off signals. For instance, fieldbus on/off valves eliminate three wires per valve, provide feedback, and diagnostics. Similarly, for electric actuators / motor operated valves (MOV) more than a dozen wires per valve can be eliminated. In a fieldbus design an on/off valve can easily be changed to a control valve or MOV without redesigning wiring, barriers, or I/O cards because they have one and the same electrical connection. All the signals are marshaled from software, known as virtual marshalling or soft-wiring, which gives great flexibility to accommodate changes late in projects.

Multi-input temperature transmitters take the place of eight single input transmitters and associated wiring, ideal for temperature profiling applications on reactors. FOUNDATION fieldbus is taking the place of proprietary protocols for networked MOVs. Similarly, a fieldbus-based tank gauging system uses only a single pair of wires to connect all sensors on the tank and is intrinsically safe. This reduces wiring and eliminates need for flameproof installation methods. Diagnostics for all sensors is provided. A field mounted gas chromatograph eliminates the need for analyzer shelter and long sampling lines, instead using fieldbus as an "electronic sampling line". Gas chromatographs and other analyzers can be digitally integrated with the rest of the system.

The main part of the seminar gave an update on the project benefits of fieldbus at the various stages of a project including FEED, detail design, and installation & commissioning in view of the many enhancements to the fieldbus technology and fieldbus products and systems over the past several years. The second part covered life-cycle operational excellence and maintenance benefits.
Seminar in Perth 

An end-user presentation was given by Ambrose Hargan of CSBP, who has reaped the real benefits of fieldbus for several years and has already deployed three systems.  As an early adopter of FOUNDATION fieldbus, they found that the technology has matured and their experience grown. Using fieldbus and its associated tools and practices is now much easier. Recommendations included training on fieldbus and working with contractors experienced in fieldbus.

Closing remarks Many large projects in Australia are currently implementing FOUNDATION Fieldbus, particularly in the area of LNG. A key take away from the seminars was that a little fieldbus training goes a long way to ensure a successful project, and to fully exploit the potential of closed loop digital control and intelligent device management. The future is digital, don't build your plant on old technology.  "

Friday, November 4, 2011

Mexico City Seminar Coming Soon!

The Fieldbus Foundation depends a lot on the efforts of our regional and country level marketing committees.  Our Mexican marketing committee has organized and end user seminar in Mexico City on November 10th at the NH Hoteles Mexico City.  You can view the agenda here.  This promises to be a great event with a very hands-on approach to demonstrating the value of FOUNDATION technology. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fieldbus Foundation at Emerson Global Users Exchange

One of the things we are doing at the Foundation is to increase our presence at the major user group meetings. If there is one meeting not to miss in your annual calendar it is the Emerson Global Users Exchange. With close to 3,000 attendees, I think I can safely say that the Exchange is now the largest user group meeting that is totally focused on process automation. Other user group meetings are as big, but not so finely focused on process automation. Attending the Exchange this year was Stephen Mitschke, our director of products, who also heads up our testing and registration efforts. Stephen presented our vision for testing and registration of products and host systems at the foundation.  You can access Stephen's presentation here

For my own part, I delivered a presentation on FOUNDATION for Safety Instrumented Functions. After a successful end user demonstration in 2008, efforts around FOUNDATION for SIF stalled a little in the wake of the recession, but activity is ramping up again and we are looking to test and register the first wave of products within the next 18 months, and there are currently three separate end user pilot projects happening as we speak.  You can access that presentation here

Emerson is a leader in FOUNDATION fieldbus and of course ours were not the only presentations given on the topic of fieldbus. In addition to the many fieldbus-related presentations, the full scope of Emerson fieldbus products and services were on display at the technology exhibits, which ran from Monday through Wednesday. Many Emerson partners were also in attendance, including several FOUNDATION fieldbus technology providers such as Softing, MTL, Pepperl+Fuchs, MooreHawke, and others. A complete list of partners that exhibited is available here.

Emerson also announced that it has sold over 1,200 of its new DeltaV S-series H1 fieldbus interface cards. The new card eliminates marshalling by letting the fieldbus trunk directly on the H1 card without an intermediate marshalling cabinet. The new card measures output voltage and the current drawn on the bus. This can be used as an additional form of diagnostics. Changes in current drawn could indicate short circuit on a spur or other installation problem. Diagnostics modules or testers connected in parallel cannot do this. It is a nice complement to the communication statistics which are already built into the H1 card and seen from DeltaV diagnostics. Together, these diagnostics detect problems on either the field device-side or controller cabinet-side of the safety barriers, without adding any hardware. 


You can download a series of good FOUNDATION fieldbus tutorial presentations from the Emerson Exchange slideshare site here. You can also access chief Emerson blogger Jim Cahill’s many posts regarding the Exchange here.

I attended a very good presentation on the new Softing gateway that will be used by Emerson in place of its Rosemount’s 3420 fieldbus gateway. Like the existing 3420 gateway, the Softing FIM 110 FF gateway is a great way to provide integration between existing legacy control systems and fieldbus devices, as well as asset management applications. The FIM 110 FF is based on Softing’s existing line of fieldbus gateways. The FIM 100 also provides integration of Modbus and other network technologies. Softing also provides a configuration tools to handle configuring blocks and schedules. AMS handles the transducer/resource configurations. Both Softing and Emerson will sell the product.

We hear a lot about Emerson’s flowmeter and transmitter offerings, but did you know that the company has truly availed themselves of the full functionality of FOUNDATION fieldbus with its analytical instruments? Jim gray of Rosemount Analytical gave an excellent presentation on the many things you can do with their products in a FOUNDATION fieldbus infrastructure, including full incorporation of NE-107 field diagnostics and function block capabilities. There is a lot of information regarding Rosemount Analytical’s fieldbus offerings here.

Some users find great success installing fieldbus in existing plants where multiple temperature measurements are required. We saw a good case study from Valero on just that topic, where the end user realized hundreds of thousands of dollars in installed cost with the Rosemount 848 T multiple input temperature transmitter. This case just shows that it is possible to realize significant installed cost savings even on a small fieldbus project.

We also attended a very informative presentation by Al Dewey of Emerson on the 475 handheld communicator, which is ubiquitous in the process industries. Al’s presentation was designed around addressing best practices in using the device, particularly when it comes to management of change. Many field technicians will make changes to a device with the 475, but these are not always picked up by the process automation system. Al gave several good pointers on how to do it right. 

Again we look forward to attending next year and appreciate all those who attended our sessions.

STC Brielle Fieldbus Training Center Gets an Upgrade

The STC-Group in the Netherlands is one of our certified training partners. Recently, they opened new and renovated facilities at its premises in Brielle, near Rotterdam. The improved process and maintenance industry training facilities at Brielle will enhance the training experiences of delegates attending the fieldbus training courses offered by STC-Group under the FOUNDATION Certified Training Program (FCTP).

 In 2009, STC-Group’s Brielle facility was one of the first educational institutions worldwide to offer fieldbus training courses certified under FCTP. This program establishes uniform standards for fieldbus educational curriculum around the globe, and defines acceptable levels of learning for students of the technology.  You can read more about the FCTP program on the Fieldbus Foundation web site. 

Earlier this year, the Fieldbus Foundation certified Dr. Bindert Douma as a FOUNDATION certified instructor on behalf of STC-Group. Dr. Douma has an extensive process automation background at Shell Global Solutions, a leading global energy company.

Recognition under the FCTP means that FOUNDATION fieldbus training courses are taught at a certified training site, by a certified instructor, using certified curriculum. The core instructional content, developed by a team of qualified instructors from various institutions worldwide, is consistent across all the training facilities. For educational institutions, there are rigorous procedures for gaining FCTP status, and for certifying course instructors and curriculum. Certified training centers are required to maintain multiple hosts and devices onsite in order to demonstrate competence with fieldbus technology. They are also audited to ensure their course material adheres to set instructional standards covering fieldbus segment limits; device replacements; commands, icons, menus and screen designs of different software packages; and communication, scheduling and function block assignments enabling configuration.

STC Brielle Training Facilities

At its facility located in Brielle, the Netherlands, close to the Rotterdam-Europoort industrial areas, STC-Group has established a unique training centre for process control and automation. The combination of complex simulation facilities and hands-on training gives students a chance to enhance their theoretical knowledge and gain user experience by working on real fieldbus equipment and configurations. STC Brielle also offers portable fieldbus training units that can be brought to customer sites anywhere in the EMEA region. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New YouTube Video on Lee College Fieldbus Training Center

Earlier this summer I attended a conference for our Fieldbus Certified Training Partner (FCTP) program.  This conference was held at one of our certified training centers at Lee College in Baytown, Texas.  Chuck Carter, our primary instructor at Lee College, gave us a tour of the fieldbus lab as well as their training facilities for process automation, analytical instruments and their pilot plant.  I pulled everything together in a video that you can access at the Fieldbus Foundation YouTube channel

YouTube Video of Lee College Fieldbus and Process Automation Training Center

Fieldbus Lab at Lee College

New White Paper on Host Profile Testing and Registration

There is a considerable amount of confusion when it comes to understanding what a host system really is, and how we test and register them at the Fieldbus Foundation.  The Foundation defines different classes of hosts based on their functionality.  Integrated hosts, for example, are what we would typically think of as a fully functional DCS host with HMI, plant asset management, and engineering and configuration capabilities.  Other hosts include those used strictly for maintenance purposes.  The Foundation has defined sets of functionality that we test for for each class of host.  To demystify this whole process, we have created a white paper that outlines the various types of hosts that are offered and their respective functions and testing requirements.  You can download the paper in PDF format at the Foundation web site.

Host and Interoperability Testing White Paper